Molecular Oncology Programme

Melanoma Group

Group Leader:  María S. Soengas
Overview

Melanomas are inherently aggressive cancers for which basic and translational research have significantly improved patient prognosis. Nevertheless, clinical responses are still incomplete. The long-term goals of our Group are to identify new progression biomarkers and therapeutic agents. Focusing on stress response programmes involving apoptosis, autophagy and endosome mobilisation, we have discovered lineage-specific oncogenes that define the melanoma ‘fingerprint’. Transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of the melanoma secretome have enabled us to define how tumour cells remodel the (lymph)angiogenic vasculature and avoid immune recognition. Moreover, we have generated a unique set of animal models for non-invasive imaging of melanoma progression in vivo. These systems have led to the validation of nanoparticle-based treatments that are currently being tested in clinical trials. Our ultimate objective is to improve the management of patients with otherwise refractory metastatic melanomas.